It was a bittersweet night in the NBA on Wednesday, with both Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade playing in their final NBA games to cap off two Hall of Fame careers. Wade dropped a triple-double, with his final assist fittingly coming on a Udonis Haslem jumper, while Nowitzki scored 20 after getting emotional as the San Antonio Spurs honored him with a tribute video before the game.
Of any two players in the league, both Wade and Nowitzki had a profound impact on both the game and the players that make up its rosters. Wade had been getting stand ovations on the road during his #OneLastDance retirement tour, while opposing crowds would roar like it was the NBA Finals whenever Nowitzki hit a jumper, even though he didn’t officially announce his retirement until Tuesday night. So many players wanted to exchange jerseys with Wade after their final game playing against him that the Miami Heat legend had to politely decline some requests.
As both legends’ games came to an end on Wednesday night, players watching around the league offered their congratulations to two men who shaped the NBA in a myriad of ways, including former Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who had his own farewell tour just three years ago.
Nowitzki stayed off of Twitter, but Wade thanked Bryant for the kind word.
Tons of other NBA players, both former and current, joined Kobe in celebration.
A fellow recent retiree, Manu Ginobili, made it a point to join in on the chorus, too.
The NBA is going to look a lot different next season with Wade and Nowitzki gracing the hardwood, and the outpouring of love from around the NBA shows you just how much the two men meant to game of basketball.